Videos

Video: Studies Show that Breaking Your Diet Makes You Binge Later

If you’ve watched my past videos, then you may know by now that dieting can cause overeating for all sorts of different reasons. In today’s video, I go over a study showing that breaking your diet can also cause you to overeat. And I talk about who is most susceptible to this reactive binging.

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Study links & links mentioned in the video:

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Videos

Video: Resistant Starch and Body Composition | Body Fat vs Lean Mass | Scientific study

You guys really liked my last resistant starch video and I got lots of requests for another, so here is a long-awaited followup! In today’s video, I go over studies looking at how eating resistant starch affects your body composition: that is, what percent of your body is fat versus lean mass like muscle. I also go over how to get more resistant starch in your diet!

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Study links & links mentioned in the video:

List of foods high in resistant starch:

  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Underripe bananas
  • Raw potatoes & potato starch
  • Raw oats (like overnight oats)
  • Cooked & cooled potatoes (can be reheated)
  • Cooked & cooled rice (can be reheated)

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Videos

Video: Is running or weight lifting better for depression? Scientific study

In today’s video, I go over a study on which exercise is best for depression: cardio or resistance training? Or, more specifically, running versus walking.

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Study links & links mentioned in the video:

 

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Recipes

Vegan Jamaican-style Beans and Greens with Coconut Rice

This is one of my proudest recipes: cooked completely off the top of my head on a whim, using what I had on hand. And it’s one of my favorites now too. It’s hearty, it’s comforting, it’s nutritious. Not to mention, it’s really simple, doesn’t require many ingredients, and ingredients can be easily substituted (a quarantine must!): instead of the kale you could try collards, chard or other greens, and you could use black beans instead of red kidney beans.

I never found a Jamaican red beans and rice recipe I really liked, but I knew I could find one someday because I’ve loved it in restaurants before… all it took was randomly combining things myself! And the best part is, this was the perfect way to use up kale from my garden that had gotten really big. This recipe really made the kale shine!

Now my Caribbean beans have some competition for my favorite bean recipe.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white long-grain rice (or brown rice, but add an extra cup of water)
  • 1 can of coconut milk, with 1/2c of it set aside
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cans red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves minced garlic, 2 cloves set aside
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
  • 2 tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp chick’n bouillon (or veggie bouillon)*
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*You can also sub chickenless seasoning or other umami seasoning, but you probably won’t need a whole teaspoon of it if you do.

Directions:

  1. Make the rice: add the rice, water, and 1/2c of coconut milk to a rice cooker and start it. (Or make it using your preferred method, but substituting 1/2c coconut milk for 1/2c water)
  2. Add the onion to a pot over medium heat and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 cloves minced garlic and saute 3 more minutes. Add water or oil if necessary to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the beans, the rest of the can of coconut milk, Jamaican spice mix, and chick’n bouillon to the pot. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. While the beans are simmering, prepare the kale: add the chopped kale, 2 cloves minced garlic, a splash of water or oil, and 1/4 tsp salt to a pan over medium heat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted and tender, about 8 minutes. Taste it and add more salt if needed–it should be a bit too salty to want to eat it on its own. (But that’s what makes it extra amazing in the beans!)
  5. After the beans have simmered for 10 minutes, smash some of them in the pot with the back of a wooden spoon. You want about half of them to be whole beans, half broken/smashed.
  6. Continue simmering until the beans are tender and melt in your mouth, about 5-10 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, erring on the side of undersalted. Add broth if they have dried out too much; you want them to be a similar consistency to the pictures here. Then stir in the kale.
  7. Serve with coconut rice, and top with additional sauteed kale if you have extra! (The more, the better, honestly.)

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Video: Does intermittent fasting work for weight loss? (scientific studies)

Today’s video answers another question I get a lot: does intermittent fasting really make you lose weight? Specifically I’m talking about intermittent fasting throughout the day (aka time-restricted feeding), where you eat for part of the day and fast for the rest of it.

In the video I go over 5 studies on intermittent fasting, with a variety of fasting windows: 8 hours (aka 16:8), 6 hours (18:6), and 4 hours (20:4) and including studies on both morning and nighttime eating windows.

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Study links & links mentioned in the video:

 

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Videos, Weight loss advice

Studies: Do Nuts Make You Gain Weight?

Today I have a video for you answering a question that a lot of you have asked: do nuts cause weight gain?

They don’t quite fit into a high carb low fat diet (which is known to be a great way to lose weight), but they’re also an unprocessed, very nutritious food. So are they good for weight loss too?

Here’s a link to the video page, or you can watch it below:

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Study links:

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Recipes

My Go-to Red Lentil Chili Recipe (with Instant Pot option)

Red lentil chili

When I need to bulk cook but am feeling lazy, I break out my Instant pot. And 90% of the time, it’s to make this recipe–it’s my favorite of all my stew/chili recipes!

Not only is it ridiculously comforting and delicious, but it’s a great way to pack in tons of veggies. It’s worked well with whatever veggies I’ve had on hand, so it’s a flexible recipe for using things up too!

Also, if you don’t have an instant pot, it works just fine on the stove too. (You just can’t be quite as lazy 😛 )

Ingredients

Base chili:

  • 3 cups dry red lentils
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • Large onion, diced (white or red works)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Heaping tsp cumin
  • 3-4 heaping tsp chili powder
  • 2-3 tsp smoked paprika
  • Heaping tsp cayenne
  • 2-3 tsp normal paprika
  • 1/4c brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Veggies I added (optional):

  • 6oz mushrooms
  • 8oz frozen peppers
  • 8oz bag chopped kale (or use 4oz frozen)
  • 5oz broccoli
  • 15oz can corn

Directions

  1. Add everything but the corn into an instant pot, put on high pressure for 17 mins, and allow to release naturally. (Or, if making on the stove: add all the ingredients except corn to a large pot over low heat. Cover and let simmer until the lentils are soft and the veggies are tender, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn)
  2. Stir in corn, and salt to taste. If you add as many veggies as I do, you may want to add garlic powder and more chili powder. The spices are ranges because they should be adjusted according to how many veggies you add, and how spicy you like things! I’d suggest adding the maximum amount if you add all the veggies.
  3. Top with avocado, chili garlic salt, or if you’re feeling fancy, vegan sour cream.

 

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Recipes

Vegan Cheesy Beef and Potato Calzone Recipe

Mashed Potato, Beef and Cheese Boxty

Sometimes you just want comfort food. And one of the great things about intuitive eating is that you can have it whenever you want, without guilt!

Before I was vegan, I loved the Irish boxtys they’d serve at a pub in San Diego–essentially a potato-filled calzone with cheese and meat. (I’ve since learned that’s not what a boxty technically is, but that’s not the point!)

So on a dark and stormy night, I decided to come up with my own vegan version… which ended up surprisingly healthy for the comfort food goal. And then at my fiancé’s request, I made it again the next night, and the next week. We’re addicted. It’s definitely found its way into our comfort food rotation that used to primarily consist of homemade burgers and pizza.

It’s hearty and very savory thanks to the beef, and the potatoes are super satiating. Plus, the cheese sauce is secretly based on whole foods!

Makes 1 large calzone, serves 2

Calzone

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium peeled gold potatoes, about 450g total
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk (I used soy)
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Half a package Beyond Beef ground (or sub another vegan beef)
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 large uncooked pizza crust (I use whole wheat)
  • 2/3 the cheese sauce recipe below, save the rest for dipping!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 440 degrees F. Put potatoes in a pot, fill with enough water to cover them by a few inches, and put it over high heat. If you want them to boil faster, chop the potatoes before putting them in the pot. Boil potatoes until they are fork-tender and able to be mashed.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté the beef and onions together according to the directions on your vegan beef package. For the Beyond ground, break it up into chunks as you sauté it so it turns into crumbles (or whatever sized chunks you’d like in your calzone). Remove from heat once the beef is cooked and onions are translucent. Be careful not to overcook, since they’ll get cooked more in the oven.
  3. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a bowl. Mash the potatoes, adding the dash of garlic and milk as you do until they are a creamy texture. Add more milk as necessary, or you could add vegan butter if you want them to be richer.
  4. Roll out the pizza crust into a circle, as you would for a normal pizza. I use parchment paper on top of a baking sheet, but you can use whatever pizza baking method you prefer. First layer on the mashed potatoes, then layer the beef and onions on top, then add the cheese sauce. Be sure to leave at least an inch around the edges free of any toppings. Then, fold the crust in half so that the edges line up, and pinch it together. (If any filling comes out the sides at this step, don’t worry about it–I just eat it 😉 )
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 440 degrees, or until the crust begins to get firm when tapped and is golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven, cut it in half, and serve! You can hold it in your hand like a pizza pocket if you’re in an especially comfort-food-y mode (that’s what we do!). We also sometimes dip it in the extra cheese sauce, or drizzle it on top.

Cheese sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup roughly chopped gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I use soy)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Directions:

  1. Boil the potatoes, carrots, and onion until tender. (You can do this along with the potatoes for the calzone–just be sure you separate them to get the right amounts in each!)
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add more salt and lemon to taste.

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Intuitive Eating, Weight loss advice

Study: Dieting = MORE Holiday Weight Gain?

If you’re like me, you’ve been baking up a storm of holiday treats. For many of us, those holiday treats come along with the dreaded holiday weight gain.

I posted 5 general tips back in November for how to avoid gaining weight over the holidays, but today I’m covering a scientific study on how dieting affects holiday weight gain–and what it means for you.

Peppermint bark is always a classic in my house!

The Study

In this study, the researchers looked at how much weight was gained over the holidays by dieters versus normal controls (nondieters). And, more importantly, what kinds of dieting habits these groups had.

The dieters were people who had successfully lost weight in the past and kept it off for years–so they really knew how to diet. Before the holiday, many of them reported having “extremely strict” holiday diet and exercise plans in place: they had solid plans to control their portions, cut out treats, and exercise like crazy. Many of them also lost weight before the holidays to have a safety net in the event of holiday weight gain.

Sounds like a lot of people around November, right?

Not a single one of the 100 nondieters, on the other hand, reported having strict diet or exercise plans. None of them reported losing any weight to prepare for the holidays, either.

So the dieters were completely focused on weight loss, had strict plans in place to do that, and even preemptively lost weight to have a holiday safety net. And the nondieters didn’t care about weight or dieting much at all.

Guess who gained more weight?

The dieters.

During the holiday, the dieters reported exercising much more, and successfully sticking to their strict diet plans. They followed self-imposed rules, like only eating at home and not allowing snacking after dinner. They intentionally stopped eating before they were full, focused on their portions, and weighed themselves more often.

And yet, they gained weight: almost half of them gained more than 2lbs. Only 15% of the nondieters, on the other hand, gained weight.

The kicker is that even a month later, in February, three times as many dieters were still holding onto that holiday weight than nondieters.

But why did this happen?

The researchers found that paying less attention to their weight and dieting over the holidays predicted more weight gain in the dieters. And yet, the dieters were still paying more attention to their weight and diet overall than the nondieters, so that can’t explain why they gained more.

This seemingly paradoxical result really shows how dieting affects you: if you’re used to dieting, then the second you take a break from completely obsessing over your weight and diet plans, you start to gain weight.

My favorite Christmas treat: toffee!

So, what does this mean for you?

The only way dieting really works in the long term is if you maintain complete control 100% of the time, with no binges or overeating or slip ups. And that isn’t realistic. It’s usually more like a cycle of doing well for a little while, then overeating, then trying to make up for it by dieting more strictly, which leads to binging… rinse and repeat.

Dieting just doesn’t work in the long term.

So what can you do?

Be like the nondieters: try intuitive eating (here’s my post on how to do that). Don’t focus on your weight. Don’t make strict diet plans. Don’t impose eating or exercise rules on yourself. Instead, just learn to tune into your body’s signals so you can eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full–that’s it!

It takes some time to escape from a diet mentality and the cycle of strict dieting and slip-ups, but it is so worth it.

And if you want to lose weight, just focus on eating whole, plant-based foods. (No need to cut out treats though!) There’s a ton of research that shows that eating this way, without any dieting, leads to effortless weight loss.

The holidays should be a time that you can spend focusing on loved ones, relaxation, and self-care. Not a time that you have to spend all your mental energy on keeping up your diet.

 

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Happy Holidays,

Recipes

Protein-Packed Vegan Chili Recipe

Today I’m teaming up with Goode Foods to bring you a recipe that’ll help keep you warm in the cold weather: chili!

I’ve been eating Thanksgiving leftovers for almost every. single. meal. since we celebrated it last weekend. I guess that’s what happens when you make 7 dishes for 4 people. 😉 And after all that heavy comfort food, all I wanted this weekend was something veggie packed and oil free—but still comforting. And this chili fit the bill perfectly!

I also made tofu sofritas to put a fun spin on it and up the protein factor. It’s so chewy and delicious, and a perfect contrast for the melt-in-your-mouth beans and veggies!

So, thank you Goode foods for inspiring me to make this! I’m a big fan not only because their canned beans & veggies are delicious and grown by local farmers, but they support veganism—all their products are vegan, and they team up with vegan bloggers (like me!) to get more healthy vegan recipes out there.

Chili Ingredients:

  • Large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 3/4c chopped bell pepper
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 4 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 – 15oz cans of pinto and black beans (I used Goode Foods: 2 cans black, 1 can pinto–any combo works!)
  • 2 – 15oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 15oz can corn (I used Goode Foods)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Chili Directions:

  1. Mince or press garlic (I use this garlic press) and add to a large pot over medium heat, along with the onion. Saute until the onion begins to get translucent, about 3-5 mins.
  2. Add bell pepper, carrots, celery, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika to pot. Saute about 2 mins, or until veggies begin to get tender.
  3. Add the beans and tomatoes to the pot, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. You want the veggies to be tender, and the beans to be very soft and start falling apart.
  4. Stir in the lime juice, maple syrup, can of corn, and the tofu sofritas.
  5. Enjoy on its own, or top with vegan sour cream, or cornbread muffins (stay tuned for that recipe!)

Tofu Sofritas Ingredients:

  • 1 block super firm tofu (~400g)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

Tofu Sofritas Directions:

  1. Combine nutritional yeast, soy sauce, lime juice, syrup, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Stir until combined.
  2. Using your fingers, crumble the tofu into a large skillet. Pour in the sauce you made in step 1, and stir until tofu is evenly coated.
  3. Saute tofu on medium heat, stirring frequently, until it browns. (The drier it is, the chewier it’ll be in the chili!)
  4. Remove from heat and set aside until step 4 of the chili.

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